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Supernatural @ PaleyFest: Then and Now 

Happy Supernatural Paleyfest Sunday! Supernatural gets its chance to shine at the 28th Annual William S. Paley Television Festival aka PaleyFest today. It’s not the first time the series has been honored at this event. Cast, crew and fans gathered back in 2006 during the show’s first season. 

The Supernatural Paleyfest Players, 2006:
Creator/EP: Eric Kripke
Dean Winchester: Jensen Ackles
Sam Winchester: Jared Padalecki
Co EP/Writer: John Shiban
EP: Robert Singer
EP/Director: Kim Manners

The event was held on March 4, 2006, at the Directors Guild of America offices in Los Angeles on the famous Sunset Boulevard. It was a small theatre (about 600 seats) and even though Supernatural was just in its infancy, it already had its share of loyal fans. There was a long line that I believe stretched out the door and as for press — there were some still photographers as well as two TV crews. Two. That’s it. It was TV Guide Channel and E! Online featuring Kristin Dos Santos (although then she was Kristin Veitch). I worked for TV Guide at the time of this first event (I still do) although I’m not the one that did the interviews. My friend did. We got some quality time with Eric, Kim as well as Jensen and Jared. The chemistry those two instantly had onscreen was prevalent offscreen too — I was waiting in line but I also got the chance to see the whole thing unfold. It was a pretty cool thing to witness. Plus, they signed autographs for fans — in the lobby — which was another cool thing to see happen.

We watched a repeat of “Scarecrow.” And even though we had seen it before, it was an entirely different experience watching it all together as an audience. It was almost like seeing it for the first time. We laughed at all the right moments — I mean, “Dude, you fugly.” How do you not laugh, right? I don’t remember a lot from the actual panel — although since it’s on DVD I’ll have to find time to relive the moments. But I just remember they were all entertaining and so excited about the show — especially Eric Kripke. I had gone by myself to this PaleyFest event because I didn’t have anyone in my life that was into it like I was into it. It was amazing to be in a room with other people that got what I got. That Supernatural was a special show. It was like the best-kept secret even though millions of people were tuning in every week.

Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/The CW

It’s quite an honor to be invited back to PaleyFest and it’s finally happened for Supernatural. I’m very excited that a show in its sixth season has the opportunity to do this all over again. Here’s what’s different this time around:

The Players:

In 2006: Kripke, Ackles, Padalecki, Manners, Shiban and Singer

In 2011: Kripke, Showrunner/EP Sera Gamble, EP/Writer/Director Ben Edlund, Ackles, Padalecki, Misha Collins and Jim Beaver. It’ll be good to have Gamble, Edlund, Collins and Beaver on the panel this year. Adding the Misha factor alone means the event’s going to be epic.

The Theatre:

In 2006, the event took place at the 600-seat theatre at the offices of the Directors Guild of America.

In 2011, the event takes place at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. The venue holds 2000 seats. The Supernatural Paleyfest is nearly sold out.

The Moderator:

In 2006, it was David Bushman, the television curator of the Museum of Television and Radio (which would later be renamed The Paley Center for Media). He was good but wasn’t exactly in the target audience of a show like Supernatural.

In 2011, the moderator is TV Critic, Mo Ryan, who writes about Supernatural for AOL TV Squad and formerly for the Chicago Tribune. She gets the show and she gets that it’s about the fans and has collected tons of great questions from fans all over the world.

The Fandom:

In 2006, the Supernatural fandom was small but growing. I was one of the only ones who blogged about the show. The first episode I wrote about was “Scarecrow.” And I think was already recapping plus a few others. But I could already see that Supernatural had a vocal, passionate fan base who would do anything for the show. They’d travel to conventions or events like PaleyFest; they’d flock to different message boards in defense of this “little show that could”; and they’d bask in the awesomeness of those Season 1 episodes.

In 2011, the Supernatural fans are seasoned and even more loyal, vocal and passionate than ever before. Late last year, the show’s devoted following voted online in order to get the cult hit its first (and hopefully not only) TV Guide Magazine cover. This veteran series is a global phenomenon with actors and fans traveling all over the world to the various conventions as well as flocking to Comic Con every summer. And say what you want about fan fiction — Supernatural fans have been so prolific they have written the most stories in the TV Show section of Up until recently, the number one most-written about show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

For the longest time, fans never thought there would be a Season 6. And now a Season 7’s looking likely to happen. And along with the amazing actors and the awesome behind-the-scenes crew, the show’s success can be attributed to this hardcore fan base.

The Media

In 2006, there were a few still photographers and two television crews.

In 2011, I’m a hundred percent sure there’s going to be more media there because the show’s a bigger deal — the press line will be packed. And in the coming days, we’ll be reading every word and watching every video. Not to mention, last time there was no Twitter. People will be able to read everything unfold thanks to Twitter.

TV Goodness will report on today’s Paleyfest. Here are some favorite Tweet Peeps to follow: @LauinLA, @DanielleTBD and @stayingin.

Like I said earlier, in 2006, I went to PaleyFest by myself because there was no one in my life that watched Supernatural. And if they did, it wasn’t with quite the same fervor as I did. In 2011, I’m going with a group of people. Thanks to Twitter, I’ll be able to see a bunch of other fans of the show I’ve met this last year. And I’m looking forward to meeting some more. What a difference five years makes.

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